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Drug Testing & Drug Screening FAQ

Drug Screening FAQ Drug Screening FAQ

What Companies Perform Drug Testing?

According to the research, over 70% of employees use illicit drugs. While this number is intriguing, the consequences of workplace drug abuse are equally alarming. This problem could lead to lost productivity and increased medical costs because of debilitating injuries or even death. Even though most companies or employers are not legally required to test for drugs, some do for the following reasons:

  • Pre-Employment Workplace screening
  • Random Drug screening
  • Annual Screening
  • Reasonable Suspicion test
  • Post-Accident 
  • Return-to-Duty 

Due to inherent safety concerns in the workplace, some companies often employ urine drug screening. Companies must test applicants and employees for drug and alcohol use in specific industries, such as transportation, safety, defense, transit, and aviation.

Also often required to test for drugs are hospitals, schools, and universities.  It may be necessary for Federal, State, and County applicants to submit to screening procedures too.

Can Employers Drug Test in States Where Marijuana Is Legal?

Currently, 33 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, while Washington, D.C., and 11 states have legalized recreational use. Although smoking marijuana is now legal in several states, the federal government still considers it illegal. Moreover, since cannabis laws are constantly changing, employers often have difficulty keeping up with these laws.

Today, while some employers have already dropped marijuana from their testing criteria, others are still considering it. Because for them, safety on the job is paramount more than any other. Due to inherent safety concerns, new employees in the transportation, construction, and manufacturing industries need to test for marijuana.

People operating heavy equipment should not be impaired by marijuana use as well. However, if the employee is proven positive, the employer cannot immediately terminate a person based on the result. Instead, the employer should first determine whether the state at issue provides employment protections to medical marijuana users.

What Are the Industries That Require Alcohol Testing?

There’s nothing better than knowing that the industry you work within is a safe and alcohol-free workplace. Many companies require that their employees submit to alcohol testing to maintain a healthy and productive working environment.  Although the law permits all industries to perform alcohol testing, specific industries must do so.

In response to the U.S. Department of Labor’s report, the following industries have the highest rates of drug- and alcohol-related harm due to excessive alcohol consumption.  It is for this reason that they have been mandated to conduct alcohol testing for the safety of their employees:

  • Construction Industry
  • Transportation Industry
  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Hospitality Industry
  • General Services Industry
  • Retail Industry

Where Can You Buy a Drug Test?

Single or multi-panel kits are commercially available at drugstores and any pharmacies. Supplies are well-stocked with customer-preferred brands. Urine test cups and strips can also be bought online now.

Most of the suppliers offer same-day shipping even for bulk orders and for as low as one test kit at a time. The test kits range from urine dip tests, saliva tests, oral swabs, and test cups.

Many of the kits are CLIA-waived and FDA-approved. It is important to make sure to read the label properly to know the substances that the test covers.

What Can Cause a False Positive on a Drug Test?

If you have ingested any of the following, this may cause a false positive in your test result: – cough syrups – blood pressure medication – anti-allergy drugs – diabetes medication – nasal decongestants – ADHD medication – sleeping pills – pain and fever medication – weight loss medication 

Various antidepressants – medicine for heartburn and gas – certain antibiotics – poppy seeds – mouthwash – Cannabidiol – HIV medication – Coca tea – antipsychotic drugs – anti-inflammatory drugs – Vitamin B supplements – tonic water – Vicks via an inhaler

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test?

Screening is for both employment candidates and current employees. Candidates for employment must first give consent and authorization before they undergo any kind of screening. If they are found positive, the offer for work may be withdrawn. Current employees, on the other hand, do not need to give permission to be tested.

This is already covered by a drug and alcohol or substance abuse policy that covers all employees. If current employees are found positive, they can be fired, given another chance but demoted, or referred to an employee assistance program. It will all depend on current state laws.

What Is TCA on a Drug Test?

TCA is the abbreviation for tricyclic antidepressants. TCA is generally used for: -treating depression -disorders such as anxiety, eating, and attention deficit anxiety -involuntary urination in children -supplements to neuropathic pain. TCA includes amitriptyline, nortriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, imipramine, and doxepin.

While these medicines can be helpful in certain doses, overdosing on these may lead to death. This test is usually done to help your healthcare provider give you the proper dose of TCA. The test can either be a blood sample or a urine sample.

What Types of Laboratory Tests Are Used for Drug Testing?

These are the tests used by many labs:

  1. Urine – The most common kind and the only approved federally-mandated testing method.
  2. Saliva – This should only be used to detect very recent drug use for accurate results.
  3. Blood – The most expensive and the most invasive, but also the most accurate.
  4. Hair – It is easy to get a sample, but the results are not as accurate.
  5. Perspiration – For monitoring people in recovery/probation. This method screens for drugs through a patch applied on the skin and left on for 14 days.

What Happens During a Workplace Drug Test?

The process for workplace testing is as follows: The test is done by a trained collector who goes to the workplace. Employees can also go to a certified lab. -The collected specimen is screened and generally categorized as negative or positive.

-A Medical Review Officer (MRO) reviews the results to ensure accuracy. -If the test is found positive without justifiable reasons, the MRO immediately contacts the Employee Assistance Program officer and a management official in charge.

Employees who test positive can be referred to EAPs, given treatment, or disciplinary action, depending on the office and the circumstances.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

The presence of drugs on your body system can last for a short or long period. How long drugs stay in your system depends on several factors, such as the amount consumed, tolerance, metabolism, physical health condition, and the drug’s half-life, to name a few.

Thus, two people taking equal doses of a drug could have entirely different experiences. In some cases, drugs’ effects may last from 2 to 4 days, while chronic use may last for 3 to 4 weeks or even longer.

Also, drugs with a long half-life are known to stay in the body for a long time. Here are some average times a drug stays in your system according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

  • Heroin: 1-3 days
  • Cocaine: 2-3 days
  • Marijuana/THC: 1-7 days
  • Meth: 2-3 days
  • MDMA: 2-4 days

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Urine?

Alcohol is a toxin that must be neutralized or eliminated from the body. The liver is the primary organ responsible for the detoxification of alcohol.

The liver reacts with alcohol to produce a byproduct or metabolite called Ethyl Glucuronide(ETG). ETG stays in urine longer which allows testing possible at a wider window of detection.

Standard tests for urine alcohol detection are 12 hours or less after the last drink. However, the newer method, ETG testing, detects for as long as 5-7 days after the last sip. Thereby, the presence of ETG in urine is an indicator that alcohol was ingested.

How Long Does It Take to Get Drug Test Results?

Getting the test results from most laboratories depends on the actual findings.

  • Urine Test – Results take 1-2 business days. Some employers get negative urine test results within 3 business days, while positive results take 4-5 days.
  • Saliva Test – the negative result is provided within 24 hours. Positive results go through confirmation testing in 24-72 hours.
  • Blood Test – negative results take 1-2 business days, while positive results are extended by 3 or more business days.
  • Hair Test Results – usually take about 5 to 10 business days.
  • Rapid Tests – results are provided the same day Instant Screening – results can be obtained within 5 to 10 minutes after getting the sample.

Can a Workplace Drug Test Be False Positive or False Negative?

According to research, testing for drugs generally produces false-positive results in 5% to 10% of cases and false negatives in 10% to 15%. Several factors affect the accuracy of performing drug screens to produce false positives and false negatives.

For a false-positive result, a sample can appear positive for illicit substances despite actually being drug-free. Incorrect testing methods, very low cut-off level, and cross-reactivity of compounds similar to drug components are some causes.

On the other hand, a false negative occurs if the sample appears negative even though the donor has been taking illicit substances before the test. Sample adulteration and a very high cut-off level are some of the causes.

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